Wednesday, 30 March 2011
Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Title: Hex Hall
Series: Hex Hall
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's
Publication Date: 1 April 2010
Synopsis: From Amazon
In the wake of a love spell gone horribly wrong, Sophie Mercer, a sixteen-year-old witch, is shipped off to Hecate Hall, a boarding school for witches, shapeshifters and faeries. The traumas of mortal high school are nothing compared to the goings on at "Freak High." It's bad enough that she has to deal with a trio of mean girls led by the glamorous Elodie, but it's even worse when she begins to fall for Elodie's gorgeous boyfriend, Archer Cross, and frankly terrifying that the trio are an extremely powerful coven of dark witches. But when Sophie begins to learn the disturbing truth about her father, she is forced to face demons both metaphorical and real, and come to terms with her own growing power as a witch.
This book has a most refreshing take on the paranormal/supernatural genre. I adored the snarky first person narrative voice (you know I adore sarcasm) Sophie was so easy to relate to, normal teen angst, hot boy crushes and mean girl cliques mixed with kicking butt magical powers. The direct address to the reader at intervals gave it a really personal feel to the story.
Beautiful scene setting and background detail revealed throughout while keeping the element of surprise. As you are probably aware I am good at guessing plot twists - I think it stems from the amount of reading I have done (or my age) - but this one took me completely by surprise on so many levels.
The school itself is an interesting concept, the descriptions conjure southern Gothic imagery set alongside the idea of a reform school for magical beings; providing a setting that is both prison like yet strangely comfortable, oxymoronic within my imagination (that is my word of the day I just wanted to use it). The way in which the cliques and allegiances were portrayed it was difficult to know who was good and who was bad. This really kept me on my toes.
There are some really beautifully executed twists, I really did not see them coming, this is very rare. The unexpected discoveries added to the suspense of the plot. The action is fast paced, dynamic drama, romantic tension and suspenseful anticipation all add up to a compelling read.
All the characters were individually interesting and their interactions were well executed. The way in which relationships change due to circumstances was skillfully portrayed in the narrative. I have to say that each individual character played a unique role to the plot, some in very surprising ways. I adored the friendship between Sophie and Jenna, initially formed by their joint outcast status it quickly progresses to a deeper bond. Plus who can resist a vampire that has such an obsession with the colour pink lol.
The romantic interests I actually enjoyed even though I am burnt-out on the love triangle aspects used so often at the moment, I have to say that this wasn't so much a love triangle as more life getting in the way of romance.
I have actually had this book for a while and pushed it to the top of the pile as the second book arrived from UK Book Tours - I am so glad I did. I am equally glad that I had the second book to read straight after it.